Bhat (tribe)

Bhat (tribe)

Bhat or Butt (Urdu: بھٹ) are people of Kashmiri Pandit origin, living predominantly in Kashmir and upper Punjab in Pakistan.


Butts were at one time Hindu Brahmins, which traditionally refers to people within the priestly caste of the Hindu caste system. [For definition of the neuter noun "IAST|brahman" (with Vedic accent on first syllable) as "n. the class of men who are the repositories and communicators of sacred knowledge, the Bramānical caste as a body (rarely an individual Brāhman)"; and the masuline noun "IAST|brahman" (with Vedic accent on final syllable) as "one who prays, a devout or religious man, a Brāhman who is a knower of Vedic texts or spells, one versed in sacred knowledge", see: MW, pp. 737-738.] The Sanskrit word "IAST|Brāhmaṇa" denotes the poet, scholar, teacher, priest, caste, class (IAST|varṇa), or tribe, that Hindu tradition enjoins to live a life of learning, teaching and non-possessiveness. [For definition of _sa. ब्राह्मण "IAST|brāhmaṇa", with last syllable showing a Vedic accent, used as a noun as "m. (having to do with Brahman "or" divine knowledge), one learned in the Veda, theologian, priest, IAST|Brāhman, man of the first four castes"; and definition of _sa. ब्राह्मण "IAST|brāhmaṇa", with only first syllable showing a Vedic accent, used as an adjective as "a". (i) belonging to a IAST|Brāhman, Brāhmanic", see: Harvnb|Macdonell|1924|p=199.] The name Butt is a distorted form of the word "Bhat" which originates from Sanskrit (भट) meaning "scholar".

Pre-Islamic History

Butts trace their origins back to Kashmiri Pandits (Hindi: कश्मीरी पण्डित) which refers to a person who belongs to a sect of Hindu Pandits who originated from the Kashmir region. They have the earliest recorded history in Kashmir and have also been mentioned in the Mahabharata. [For definition of the noun _sa. ब्राह्मणः "IAST|brāhmaṇaḥ" as "1. A man belonging to the first of the four classes ("IAST|varṇas" instead of "castes" in Apte's Skt-Hindi dictionary) of the Hindus, a IAST|Brāhmaṇa(priest) (born from the mouth of the "Purusha")"; and the adjective _sa. ब्राह्मण "IAST|brāhmaṇa" as "a". 1. Belonging to a IAST|Brāhmaṇa", and other meanings, see: Harvnb|Apte|1965|p=707 ,Harvnb|Apte|1966|p=724-25 ; on p.901 of the latter, Apte gave one of the meanings of IAST|varṇa as "caste" but qualified it with a statement :"mainly people of four IAST|varṇas of IAST|brāhmaṇa (scholars,priests), kṣatriya (warriors), vaiśya (merchants), śudra (artisans)", and did not permit use of the term IAST|varṇa for any caste other than these four.] Butts were also said to be followers of Buddhism at various points in time related culturally to the great Gandhar and as a result there culture shows various influences from ancient Vedic, Greek and Kushan cultures. They have contributed greatly to Indian culture through excellence in Sanskrit, mathematics and science. Panini and Chanakya were of the "Bhat" tribe, ancestors of today's Butts. [For definition of "IAST|brāhmaṇa", with last syllable showing Vedic accents, as a noun, "m"., one who has divine knowledge, a IAST|Brāhman. a man belonging to the 1st of the 3 twice-born classes and of the 4 original divisions of the IAST|Hindū body", and the adjective "IAST|brāhmaṇa", with first syllable showing a Vedic accent, as "relating to or given by a IAST|Brāhman, befitting or becoming a Br., Brāhmanical", see: Monier-Williams, p. 741, middle column. Cf. Rgveda, Pune Edition, vol-5 (index), p.408 in which all occurrences of "IAST|brāhmaṇa" as first person singular show anudātta (absence of accent) on first two syllables. ] According to many Hindus, the scholarly work of Butts were "destroyed" during the advent of Islam in Kashmir and many Kashmiri Pandits were "forced to convert", although this claim has refused by many Muslims and Butts alike. In the late 13th century during the reign of Emperor Alamgir, many converted to Islam. Today, the majority of Butts are Muslim, although some still practice Hinduism. [A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and Northwest Provinces, compiled by H.A. Rose, Vol II, Page 98]

Conversion to Islam

Kashmir has traditionally been the seat of both Hindu (Shaivism) and Buddhist (Sharda-Peetham) teachings, until the advent of Islam in the late 13th century where Islam became the dominant religion. There have been many disputes between Muslim and Hindu historians as to how Islam became the dominant religion. The quick conversion of the Kashmiris from Hindu/Buddhist faiths to Islam indicates that it could have been forceful in nature, however, disputed by some of the modern day Muslim historians. In late 13th century during the reign of Emperor Alamgir many Butts converted to Islam. Today, the majority of Butts are Muslim, although some still practice Hinduism. [A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and Northwest Provinces, compiled by H.A. Rose, Vol II, Page 98] Money and land may have been another reason for the mass conversions. Similarly disincentives like Jaziya could also have forced many to take up the faith of the ruling class. Some may have converted voluntarily to Islam being impressed with the tenants of Islam.


Many Butts settled in upper Punjab are ancestors of Kashmiri immigrants who fled Kashmir after several years of severe drought in early 1800s.] However, a vast majority were forced out of Kashmir into upper Punjab during the reign of Hira Singh Dogra and during the reign of Hari Singh. By 1931, Muslim agitation started against Hari Singh because his policies and reforms directly pinched Muslims. The Maharaja intended to exploit the Kashmir issue and was not willing for the state to accede unconditionally to either India or Pakistan. The situation deteriorated in October, 1947 when in Jammu Hindu and Sikh militants slaughtered thousands of Muslims. Almost the entire Muslim population of 500,000 was eliminated. 200,000 were murdered and the rest fled to Pakistan. [24 Barry Buzan and Gowher Rizvi, South Asian Insecurity and the Great Powers,p. 98.]

Family Structure

Like other Kashmiri families, the social structure is based on the extended family. However the wider kinship network of "biraderi" and how it impacts on relations and mobilization is equally important. The extended family is of fundamental importance as a unit of decision making and with respect to the relations of its members with wider society. The institution of "biraderi" – which means brotherhood in a relatively loose sense – provides a useful collective framework for promoting mutual well-being. This is achieved through help and co-operation in social, economic and political spheres and it reinforces a sense of belonging and collective self-assurance. [ [ Diasporic Communities and Identity Formation: ] ] The Mir family are a sub caste of Butts and are predominantly found in Kotli and Khuiratta, Azad Kashmir who fled the Kashmir Valley during the 1800 drought.

Geographical Distribution

Butts are originally from the Kashmir Valley currently located in Indian occupied Kashmir and are still found in the throughout the region including Azad Kashmir as well as upper Punjab. [Alan Campbell Johnson, Mission with Mountbatten (London: Robert Hale, 1952), pp. 357­358.] Today Butts are found primarily in upper Punjab and settled in Rawalpindi, Jehlum, Gujrat, Wazirabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot and Lahore. A large number of them are also found in Azad Kashmir.

Notable People

* Pāṇini, 4th century BC Sanskrit grammarian.
* Chanakya, (c. 350-283 BC) was an adviser and a prime minister to the first Maurya Emperor Chandragupta.
* Śāntarakṣita, a Buddhist scholar and abbot of Nalanda.
* Salman Butt, a Pakistani cricket player.
* Arif Butt, a Pakistani cricket player.
* Ijaz Butt, a Pakistani cricket player.
* Asim Butt, a Scottish cricket player.
* Ali Azmat, a Pakistani singer, and former lead singer of Junoon.
* Ziauddin Butt, a former head of Pakistani intelligence agency ISI.
* Munir Butt, a British civil servant and philanthropist.
* Maqbool Butt, a marytered Kashmiri Freedom Fighter.
* Asim Butt, a Pakistani painter and sculptor and a member of the Stuckist art movement.
* Hassan Butt, former spokesman for the disbanded British Islamist group Al-Muhajiroun.
* Ambreen Butt, a Pakistani model
* Rehan Butt, former Pakistani field hockey player.
* Faisal Butt, conservative candidate for the Scottish Parliament.
* Mudasir Butt,a Pakistani renowned TV journalist
* Maria Butt, a Pakistani fashion designer for "Maria B".
* Asma Butt, a female Pakistani model.
* Ahmed Butt, a male Pakistani model turned actor.
* Farhan Saeed Butt, lead singer of Pakistani band Jal.
* Hafiz Salman Butt, chairman of Wohaib FC.
* Ayaz Butt, chairman of KRL FC.
* Mohammad Sharif Butt, represented Pakistan in athletics (track and field) at the 1948 Summer Olympic Games in London.
* Ahmed Ali Butt, a Pakistani actor and former member of rock band EP.
* Rasheed Butt, a renowned Pakistani artist and recipient of "The Pride of Performance" by Pakistan in 1989.

See also

* Butt (surname)
* Bhatt
* Kashmiri Pandits
* Brahmins
* Kashmiri Muslims
* History of Jammu and Kashmir
* Khawaja
* Mir_(tribe)
* Tribes and Castes of Kashmir By Muhammad Din Folk


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